Fake millionaire ordered to repay ₤20k
A Widnes fraudster, who was branded as
"Walter Mitty" was attempting to steal ₤2 million in false VAT
repayment claims, according to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). We are told
that Anthony Knowles, 58, was found in Court to have been pretending to be a
sheik backed multimillionaire, trading in horse medicines. He has been ordered
to pay back ₤20,000, within 3 months or serve a further 9 months in jail, after
being jailed for 4 years.
Zoe Ellerbeck, Assistant Director, Fraud
Investigation Service, HMRC, said:- "Knowles provided dozens of fake
documents in his attempt to convince HMRC, and others, that he was genuinely the
head of a multimillion pound empire. All this was based on Walter Mitty style
grandiose lies, fraud, and theft from the public purse. His real living
circumstances laid bare his lies. We are now recovering the stolen money for
Knowles pretended to trade in equine medicine for racehorses, move in rich
circles and claimed to have a ?25 million bank balance. In reality he lived in a
2 bedroom Council house and was unemployed.
As part of his scam, he attempted to buy a Cheshire mansion and farm, and
received quotes for building a huge oak framed extension to include stables,
groom quarters and garages. HMRC discovered he had sent 1 estate agent an email,
claiming he had ₤12 million in funds available to purchase new property.
HMRC investigators told the court of luxury spending by Knowles on a ₤4,000
weekend stay at Claridges and the purchase of luxury goods from Hermes. He had
also falsely claimed to HMRC officers that his business was being financially
supported by a sheik; who was never traced. Despite Knowles claiming he had no
assets, HMRC identified almost ₤20,000 in tainted gifts he gave family members
and he was ordered to repay these within 3 months or serve a further 9 months in jail.